Derby Days is the national fundraiser of the Sigma Chi Fraternity that raises money for the Children’s Miracle Network, an alliance of 170 hospitals and healthcare facilities across North America that provide quality care to children. These Network hospitals treat many illnesses and afflictions regardless of the family’s ability to pay. Since 1992, Sigma Chi Chapters across North America have raised nearly $3,000,000 for the cause. Here at the University of Virginia, Derby Days is more commonly regarded as a weeklong event in mid April in which sororities compete for points in various different ways to earn the coveted title of Derby Days Champions.
The following is a general schedule of the various events and festivities associated with the week of Derby Days:
Tuesday: Blood Drive, Coin Drop Competition, and Scavenger Hunt
Wednesday: Miss Derby Days Competition and Coin Drop Competition
Thursday: Bar Night, and Coin Drop Competition
Friday/Saturday: Skit Competition and Coin Drop Competition
The week begins on Tuesday with a blood drive sponsored in association with the American Red Cross, which is open to the entire University community. Donors, male or female, can chose whichever sorority they wish to assign their points to. This event is always very successful with a consistently high blood donation rate. Tuesday night’s event is a scavenger hunt in which all the sororities are given a list of random items with various point values that need to be located in a period of one hour. After presenting the various items for judgment, point values are assigned and a winner is announced. The next event, on Wednesday night, is the Miss Derby Days competition in which each sorority gets to dress up one of their coaches for a walk off, in which a judge will determine which sorority did the best job of turning their coach into Miss Derby Days. Thursday night is a Bar Night in which cups are sold at two bar locations for points. The concluding event of the week is a skit competition where the sororities compete by performing some sort of skit, usually a dance. A panel of judges consisting of prominent University figures determines which sorority performed the best skit and thus will win the points for that event.
In association with these daily events is the weeklong sale of T-shirts, cups, and a coin drop competition on the Lawn. The purchase of a cup or T-shirt is worth points, which can be assigned to a sorority. The coin drop competition consists of every sorority having a container with their name on it, in which coins are worth positive points and paper money is negative points (quarter = +25 and one dollar = -100). Depending upon current point standings among other things, girls can boost up the points of their sorority and drive down the points of other sororities. All of these events essentially serve to utilize a competitive nature that is undeniably present for the benefit of a great cause. In 2003, Sigma Chi Derby Days at the University of Virginia collected proceeds upwards of $7,000 and in 2004, Derby Days incredibly raised over $15,000.